For this week’s Athlete Spotlight, I got to talk with JR CrossFit member Donnie Wells. Donnie joined the box in March of this year, and has become a loyal member of our 5 a.m. class, 3-5 times per week. Here’s what Donnie had to say about his JR CrossFit experience, and the improvements he’s seen in endurance, overhead work, and more.
Tell us about yourself: How old are you? When did you join JR Crossfit? How often do you make it to the box? What are some of your other hobbies?
I am 56 and retired from the U.S. Air Force as a C-130 aircraft mechanic. I served in Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Southern Watch (liberation of Kuwait). I currently work as a Quality Engineer at L3Harris in Waco. I joined JR in March 2019 and do my best to get to the box 3-5 times a week. Some hobbies I enjoy (time permitting) are working on cars and drag racing. I am a huge fan of the NHRA and a former participant in the IHRA.
What was your workout routine like before joining JR Crossfit?
Something to do with couches, potato chips and TV…..ha-ha. Actually, I had been working a weightlifting routine for several years prior to going to JR. It was a “dynamic weightlifting” program (5-6 times a week) with core and cardio mixed in. Medium to medium-heavy weights with lots of reps and only one minute between sets. Lots of dumbbell work, explains why I struggled and still struggle with some of the barbell work at our box.
What kind of progress (physical, mental, etc.) have you seen since you started Crossfit? How do you stay motivated?
I feel like I have made very good progress, but still have a long way to go. My strength and stamina is better as I have learned the “slow and steady” mindset helps get you to the end of a difficult WOD. Also try to employ the mindset from the military, “suffer in silence”, because I have heard there is no whining in Crossfit….ha-ha. I believe my form is much improved. I try to concentrate on getting the movements correct before moving on to the heavier weight. Being a “creature of habit”, staying motivated is less difficult. Every workout is different and presents a new challenge. In addition, I want to try to keep my mind and body healthy, as I get older.
Why did you pick JR Crossfit? What is your favorite thing about it?
My daughter, Melanie, encouraged me to try JR Crossfit. I was hesitant at first because I did not think I could hang. The JR community is welcoming and supportive, especially the morning crew! The coaches are knowledgeable and supportive as well. The box is always clean and well managed. My favorite thing is being challenged to accomplish things I have never done before, like jump ropes. Never learned that as a kid – never too late to teach an old dog a new trick!
What are some of your Crossfit and fitness goals going forward?
Besides just overall Crossfit training, I need to work on my mobility and overhead routines. It is incredible to me how weak I am at the overhead stuff!
What advice would you give someone considering joining JR Crossfit?
Just do it! However, be sure not to overdo it at first. It is OK to “tap-out” until you get your mind and body worked up to the routines. Sometimes I think people get discouraged because they try too hard at first and are overcome by the difficulty, soreness and perceived expectations. You won’t be judged at JR Crossfit.
By Chance Miller